Friday, June 24, 2011

North Dakota Devastated by Flooding

Many residents of Minot,North Dakota failed to get flood insurance,believing their levees would protect them.Although the levees would not breech,they are being topped,leaving many homeless for the foreseeable future.
Record flood waters,the result of prodigious winter snowfall and spring rain in the U.S. and Canada,are raising the misery index exponentially in Minot and nearby communities in the upper Midwest.Dam floodgates had to be opened in three Canadian dams and one American dam,sending a cascade of ruinous proportions southward down the Souris River,submerging countless homes and businesses.
Financial fears are mounting in Europe and the U.S.,where the Greek debt issue continues to ruffle markets.Accord has been reached with the EU and IMF,but the Greek parliament still has to approve the austerity requirements to receive the aid for upcoming repayments.As well,the Fedreral Reserve's quantitative easing program,or QE2,ends next Thursday,with unknown consequences for the stock market.
For the week,the Dow dropped 0.58%,while the NASDAQ lost 1.39 and the S&P edged 0.24 lower.
A number of data points will also condition trading next week.Pending home sales,consumer confidence,the ISM manufacturing index,and the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index will be released.
In reaction,the S&P futures tumbled 13.10 Friday evening,but bond index futures climbed.
At the College World Series in Omaha,Nebraska,South Carolina climbed past Virginia 3-2 in 13 innings on two throwing errors.The Gamecocks will face the Florida Gators in a best of three final beginning on Monday.

Friday, June 17, 2011

McIlroy Dominates At Congressional

Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy dominated the early going at the U.S. Open at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda,Maryland.Mature beyond his 22 years,McIlroy,who also had led the year's first major,The Masters,through most of the tournament,made golf history on Friday by posting the best ever 36-hole score at the U.S. Open.
Although botching the eighteenth hole along with Phil Mickelson,McIlroy ended the day with an 11 under 131 for the tournament so far.Mickelson was well back at 1 over.
News from Europe dominated the stock market this week,resulting in several poor closing bells.By week's end,however,things had calmed down in Athens,Greece and the Europeans seemed closer to resolving their debt crisis for the moment,allowing the major averages to post minute gains.The Dow and S&P closed fractionally up for the week,at 0.4 and 0.04,respectively.The NASDAQ gained a more appreciable 1.0.
The Wallow fire,worst in Arizona history,continued to burn Friday evening,being 33% contained.Gusty winds were unfortunately in the forecast,posing further danger of blazes in the drought-ridden West.
The week ahead poses more danger for portfolios as the Federal Reserve issues an interest rate decision and statement on Wednesday.Data on home sales,durable goods and Gross Domestic Product may also prove significant to investors.
The S&P futures took a positive slant,rising 2.50 Friday evening,while bond index futures headed downward.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Worries,Wildfire and Sun Devils

The stock market rolled further down its losing path this week,finishing lower for the sixth straight week for the first time since 2002.The slowness of the recovery,a ballooning national debt and overseas concerns remain stumbling blocks to further appreciation of most equities as a correction drives investors into the havens of bond funds and cash again.
Opportunists scoop up bargains at such times,but profit-taking is the rule of the day,especially on the cusp of a weekend with all its inherent uncertainties.For the week,the Dow lost 1.6,and the S&P surrendered 2.2,with the NASDAQ falling 3.3.Commodities dropped on Friday as the dollar rose,as expressed by the Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index,which slipped 2.30.
The Arizona State Sun Devils didn't slip when they cuffed the Texas Longhorns 3-1 at the NCAA Super Regionals Friday evening in Austin.The first game of the best 2 out of three series was taken control of when Arizona State scored two runs in the top of the 3rd on two Texas errors and an RBI single.
In 2002 and 2005,the Longhorns lost game 1 of the Super Regionals,only to come all the way back and take the College World Series.For tonight,however,the Sun Devils' Joey DeMichele led the way to a win,going 2-4 with 2 RBIs.
At home in Arizona,wildland firefighters worked on saving small towns from a forest fire that was only 5% contained.Five hours from Phoenix,the fire may take up to 3 weeks to fully control.The communities of vacation homes,cabins and resorts will be at risk till then,and in the past it has taken such resorts 5 years to recover from a blaze of this size.
The markets will give their attention to several reports next week,including retail sales,housing starts and inflation.The S&P futures slid a further 18.20 Friday evening,and bond index futures rose on the new week's promise.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Wall Street Marks Losses,Blue Jays Win

Wall Street began June with its fifth straight week of losses,which is not surprising in that,historically,June has been a poor month for the stock market.Remarkably,all three major averages were down 2.3 on the week,as though giving a unanimous thumbs down to working at vacation time.
A gravely disappointing employment report got Friday off to a miserable start,with only 54,000 jobs being created in May,steeply down from April's 231,000.Labor Secretary Hilda Solis admitted that it does keep her up at night,because she knows that they have to do a better job at creating jobs.
Earlier in the week,the Institute for Supply Management issued its manufacturing survey,which also indicated a serious slowdown from April's readings.Manufacturing activity tumbled from 60.4 to 53.5 in May,and new orders followed suit,dropping from 61.7 to 51.0.Readings above 50 in the highly regarded report signify expansion.
Residents of Massachusetts waged their own struggle as they regrouped following a fatal tornado on Wednesday.The half-mile wide storm ripped through the communities of Springfield and Monson,killing four and sending a debris ball up to a height of 6,000 feet.At high elevations in the Rockies,winter weather advisories are posted for the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges,where late spring snow could total up to 7 inches.
The Toronto Blue Jays did not have to struggle as they clipped the Baltimore Orioles 8-4 Friday night in Baltimore.The win put the Jays above .500 again.The teams smacked 10 hits each,but the Orioles were also charged with an error.The Blue Jays' J.P. Arencibia hit a grand slam homer in the fifth inning and starting pitcher Carlos Villanueva climbed to a 3-0 record after having been promoted from the bullpen.
A relatively light data week is ahead for Wall Street,with the Federal Reserve's anecdotal Beige Book report slated for release,as is the World Bank's World Economic Outlook.The S&P futures lost 16.10 Friday evening,while bond index futures rose.